New or second hand?
When buying new , one can buy “on the paper”. This means buying from a builder and choosing your home from a plan - it may be long before construction begins. If you buy at this stage, you may have a fair bit of flexibility in terms of the final design/layout and choice of fittings. Most new homes do not have the kitchen fitted in - one is given a certain amount which can be spent on the kitchen, and should a fancier kitchen be your wish, you can then increase the amount to be spent. Housing fairs are held regularly, and there is fierce competition amongst builders to attract buyers of new homes. If buying "on the paper", or buying a house that isn’t completed, one needs to clearly understands all the plans and be in a position to closely supervise. We recommend that you employ a supervisor who will ensure you will end up with a well built home.
What is Vaad HaBayit?
This refers to the dues levied on all tenants in a communal building - and covers costs of shared lighting, lift maintenance, costs of communal heating and hot water systems, cleaning, gardening , and National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) for the cleaner/s. The amount varies enormously in accord with the type of services provided, and is usually collected on a monthly basis. Major repairs are the financial responsibility of the owners and not of the tenants.
What are “building rights”?
Many years ago, laws were laid down which governed how much of a plot could be built on (usually 75%). Lots of exceptions were made - you could build more on corner blocks, on certain streets , in certain neighbourhoods (trying to increase their amount of residents). In practice, the availability of building rights , because of the potential represented, greatly increases sales prices. The empty block next door might promise quiet and no noisy neighbours- but check the zoning- a shopping centre might go up soon!
How do I know if the sale price quoted is reasonable?
Check with other similar properties in the area. In the final analysis, if it is what you really want, where you want - then paying above market value doesn’t really matter -once you have your piece of Eretz Yisrael where and when you wanted it - you’ll forget about the few extra shekels or dollars that you paid.
Finance possibilities include loans and mortgages. For young couples, special mortgages or loans of varying amounts may be available, more generous if you choose to live in a development town, or over the Green Line. If you hold onto the property for a specified minimum time, usually five years, then usually the loan, or at least a large part of it, is changed into a grant. Olim can also get various additional loans and mortgages ( for Australians, from the British Olim Society). There are many different types of mortgages - dollar based, shekel based, linked, non linked, available for periods from 10-25 years , and up to about 60% of the property’s value, as assessed by a professional valuer or appraiser( usually lower than market value). Bullet loans are also available, where interest only is repaid during the term of the loan, with capital being repaid at the end.
Property is registered with various authorities:
1. Tabu: This is the government lands registry
office. This is an open registry – anybody can
check the ownership of a property registered in
2. Minhal Makarai Yisrael( Israel Lands Authority): This is the Government Lands Authority – the holding company for most of the land in the country. The government leases out land and property – it does not sell land outright – usually for a period of 49 years often with an automatic right to renew for a further period of 49 years. The owner of a property must give permission before details of ownership are made available.
3. Hevra Meshakemet: This is a body that is authorized to register property until, for instance, a building project is completed and the entire project is registered with the Tabu Office or Minhal.
Property is identified by system set up during the British Mandate.
The country is divided into sections each with its own unique number and each section is divided into numbered plots. These divisions are referred to as Gush (Section) and Helka (Plot). In built up areas where, for instance, an apartment building has been erected on a Helka, then each apartment is identified as a Tat Helka and given an identifying number. The rights and obligations of the owner of each unit are specified by Bayit Hameshutaf (Condominium) documents that include plans identifying each owner’s property.
Before I sign the contract, should I have the property checked?
You should have the property checked by an engineer or surveyor before you sign the contract. He should give you a written statement. You may need to use this statement, so make sure to hire a licensed and reputable engineer. The cost is, depending on the size of the property, $400-$500 plus VAT.
The information contained on this page is a general guide. Prospective purchasers must obtain specific legal and professional advice from qualified Israeli legal counsel or tax advisors.